This is a time of vacillation, of wondering if there is still hope, of a loss in self-confidence: you begin to doubt yourself as never before.
Everywhere you look, a vicious, take-no-prisoners minority rules.
Norms are discarded, the lies are many, and the future looks bleak.
Should you resist, even if your chances of making a comeback are unpromising?
Already, you find yourself making excuses.
You learn to accept what you think of as temporary setbacks — so many of them unforced errors — that morph into permanent, irrevocable defeat.
You cannot believe that people like [insert name of favorite bogeyman or woman here] is winning the game, while people like [insert name of favorite guru or feel-good leader here] seem hopelessly out of date, their words, ideas, and plans for a better world inadequate to stem the time of misery.
You briefly turn to [insert name of preferred religion or prophet here] but the answers seem cloudy.
You read [insert name of serious philosopher or impartial cultural observer here] and the answers get even cloudier.
You go to places where the Enlightened Ones [insert the names of your favorite eremites here] once reflected, but the stones they sat on remain silent.
You look around you, and the faces of other people make you sick.
You look in the mirror, and you consider — but only for a moment — doing the [insert last name of favorite suicidal here].
You turn to [insert name of favorite mind-altering substance here], but it’s no use. That doesn’t last; the pain not worth the gain.
You look at who has advanced into the Round of 16 in the 2018 World Cup, and you weep.
With each misdirection, with each feint, with each turning of the screw of their meticulously planned long game, you wince.
There is no justice in this world, you conclude.
How could you have been so blind?
But wait… did you step up and insist on wearing the captain’s arm band?
Losses are inevitable, that is true.
But did it have to be so complete? And did it have to be to them?
To such inferiors?
All is hopeless, and whatever is good in life only transient — you conclude, gloomily.
You console yourself with empty phrase making.
Many centuries ago, you read somewhere, the Pharaohs thought they could build invulnerable fortresses to protect their eternal souls.
They were wrong; the thieves got in while the smell of funerary incense was still in the air of just-sealed royal tombs.
You consider the overall situation, seeking a rationalization, some way to live with it.
It’s not that you are a coward.
It’s just that now is not the time, especially with everything lined up against you.
You can deal with all this later, when the odds are more in your favor.
After all, it’s no so bad.
There will be other days.
Plus, you have other fish to fry, and much to lose.
After all, in the end, everyone is a loser, one way or another.
You ruefully smile.
You have found it.
Now you can relax.